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Documentary “That Never Happened”: Vancouver Premiere about Ukrainians in Canadian Inter

You are invited to see the documentary That Never Happened, with guest speaker Andrea Malysh on Sunday October 27, 2019 at 1:30pm in the Holy Trinity Auditorium, 154 East 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC.

Did you know that 5,000 Ukrainians were taken to internment camps scattered throughout Canada from 1914 to 1920? Many were stripped of their property. 80,000 individuals, the majority being Ukrainian, were required to register as “enemy aliens” and report regularly to officials.

Why? When WWi began in 1914, there was suspicion that immigrants from enemy countries—Austro-Hungary, Germany and later Turkey and Bulgaria—might be disloyal. They were labeled “enemy aliens” even though there was never any evidence of disloyalty on their part.

Conditions in camps? They were so poor that “there are men running away from here every day…we cannot go much longer…We are not getting enough to eat-we are hungry as dogs” wrote N. Olynik, an internee at the Castle Mountain Camp to his wife in 1915. Men were made to do a variety of work, including clearing land and constructing roads in the heat of the summer and the bitter cold of winter. A number of camps included women and children.

Life for the families of the internees? “My dear father” writes Katie Domytryk, aged 9, living in the Edmonton area, “We haven’t nothing to eat and they do not want to give us no wood…I don’t go to school… It is cold…Come home right away”. Many others, including women, lost their employment: “We have been discharged from work because we are considered aliens, but we are loyal to Canada. What are we to do if we cannot get work? Are we to starve or are we to be driven (to) a life of vice? Will not the women of Calgary speak for us?” Written and signed by a group of Ukrainian women to the Calgary Daily Herald, February 29, 1917.

Even today, after the Canadian Government, in consultation with the Ukrainian Canadian community, set up the Canadian First World War Recognition Fund in 2008, this remains an unknown chapter in Canada’s history. Many Ukrainian Canadian do not know that their forefathers/families were subjected to humiliating and harsh treatment as “enemy aliens”.

Visit for info, videos of campsites and teaching resources

Mary Ann Pylypchuk

Chair, Ukrainian Studies Foundation of BC


5,000 Ukrainians were forcibly taken to internment camps scattered throughout Canada from 1914 to 1920 as “enemy aliens”?

They were stripped of their property?

80,000 Canadians, many Ukrainian, were required to register and report regularly to officials?

Men in camps were “hungry as dogs” and made to do back breaking work year round?

Others were discharged from work?

Women and children were left to fend for themselves on remote farms?

Some camps included women and children?

Many of your Ukrainian Canadian forefathers never spoke about this humiliating period of their life?

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